Founded in 1945, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) focuses on improving social and ethical problems around the world. For example, UNESCO is striving to halve the proportion of people living in poverty in developing countries by the year 2015. Other goals include helping establish universal primary education in all countries, eliminating gender disparity in these educational institutions, and implementing solutions for sustainable development to curb the current steady loss of environmental resources in many countries.
Along the same lines, UNESCO seeks to encourage the protection and preservation of cultural and natural sites around the world that are agreed to be of significant value as the heritage of the world. In 1972, UNESCO adopted a treaty signed by its member countries to both encourage the nomination of sites as well as inspire public awareness and therefore participation in conserving the world’s most valuable heritage. Additionally, declaring a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site opens the door to international cooperation and funding as well as emergency assistance in support of its preservation.
Today, 141 independent countries maintain some 850 priceless World Heritage Sites, many of which are found in Latin America. Because of the public awareness created by UNESCO’s treaty, these sites have become popular travel hotspots and are today preserved better than ever before.